‘Little Recipes from Modern Magic’ by Guillaume Apollinaire, translated by Ron Padgett

I have no idea of the real value of the recipes you’re about to read. But they seemed to me sufficiently odd to arouse one’s curiosity.”

Within this curious document is a “salve for avoiding car trouble”, an incantation for “poetry meters”, an “antihygienic powder for having lots of children”, a “recipe for glory” and an “eau de vie for speaking well”. I don’t think I could add anything else to encourage you to read it.

Apollinaire lived a short, fierce life, dedicated to the arts and to his work within the arts. A French poet of Polish-Belarusian descent, he was also novelist, journalist, art critic, playwright. He coined the terms ‘cubism’, ‘orphism’ and ‘surrealism’. He died in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 just three days before the end of the First World War.

First published in Le Poète Assassiné, Bibliothèque des Curieux, 1916. English translation first published in The Poet Assassinated and Other Stories, North Point Press, 1984/Carcanet, 1985, with a UK paperback edition from Grafton Books, 1985.